Quick and easy access to all library resources at the University of Lincoln

University of Lincoln students are now enjoying quick and easy access to their library’s content thanks to the newly implemented interface, Prism, from Education Software Solutions (ESS).

The system was put in place through close collaboration between library staff, students and ESS developers, who worked together to make it powerful yet simple to use.

As part of realising its mission to provide an excellent user experience for all its students, the University of Lincoln recently contracted ESS to provide the highly accessible new library management and discovery system. By testing the system with students and library staff, ESS created an interface that provides an efficient user journey.

Prism is the student interface of the web-based LMS, Soprano, which is a mobile device solution that enables staff to work away from their desks and spend valuable time assisting students. Through this system, routine tasks such as notifications and integration with other university systems are done automatically and in real-time.

Scott Dutfield, a postgraduate student at the University of Lincoln, said: "It’s good to know that the university is investing in the library service to make it even more accessible for students. An online platform adds to the user’s overall experience, and it is beneficial to be able to reserve books, read journals and search the web all from one place. As students, we worked with ESS and the university to help make this happen. The new system is great - I can now see books by cover images, click straight through to an author’s background and other works they have written, and I can see my personal history of everything I have borrowed before."

University Librarian, Ian Snowley, explained that academic libraries should work on the basis that students need 24/7 access from anywhere in the world, and that users with all levels of abilities should be treated equally. 

Ian said: "Students need to be able to study while balancing their lifestyles which could include employment, caring for others, or just generally being very busy. Our library philosophy is based on self-service - from giving students the option to print off a temporary card in the front foyer at any time day or night to borrowing a laptop without staff intervention."

Thanks to Prism, students no longer need to go to several different websites to read journals, reserve books, or use search engines to find supplemental information as part of their research work.

Dave Masterson, Assistant Director for E-strategy, System and Resources at the university’s library, said: "We have changed the way we provide library services. It’s very personal now for both students and staff. For example, students now have one access point for all their needs and staff don’t have to switch between screens because everything is in a clean, tabbed environment. The testing ESS did with students, in particular, was invaluable."

Drew Cook, Director of ICT at the University of Lincoln, commented that in choosing a new Library system it was important that the solution also aligned with the University ICT strategy. Drew said: "The University ICT Strategy expresses a preference for ‘Software as a Service’ delivered solutions that, while being commercial off-the-shelf, provide full flexibility through configuration, workflow management and self-service for end users. The integration of the new library system with other university systems has been achieved using the University Enterprise Service Bus. ESS worked closely with the University project team to successfully implement the solution ready for the start of the new 2016/17 academic year."

Karen Reece, Head of Libraries at ESS, said: "We received feedback from the University of Lincoln’s students on each feature of the new system and what could be improved, and we are therefore confident that our solution meets the requirements of all users. We are keen to help our customers achieve their strategic ambitions and we do this by providing tailored, sensitive and intelligent development like the web-based system Soprano, and the student-facing interface, Prism. I look forward to hearing more positive feedback over the coming months."

The University of Lincoln’s award-winning Great Central Warehouse Library is located at the heart of its main Brayford Pool Campus in the centre of Lincoln. With around 14,000 students enrolled across a range of undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, Lincoln is recognised for its pioneering approach to working with industry and is known for providing a great student experience.